Sunday, June 30, 2013

Vietnamese Food in Seattle: Tamarind Tree

Vietnamese culture abounds in the International District of Seattle and it was refreshing to see familiar sights and enjoy familiar flavors.

The Entrikins were curious to know how their local Vietnamese joint compared to our usual spots in Saigon, so they took us to Tamarind Tree and let us order a feast!

Billed as a "provincial" restaurant, Tamarind Tree has an extensive menu covering delights from all regions of Vietnam. Per family tradition, we started with Gỏi cuốn (Spring rolls).

Spring Rolls

Tasty bricks of grilled tofu accompanied the Gỏi củ sen (Fresh lotus root salad).

Lotus Root Salad

Bún thịt nướng (Skewered grilled pork noodles).

A decidedly Americanized version of Bò lá-lốt, with incomparably massive chunks of beef sausage rolled in betel leaves.  Delicious, but very filling.

A perfectly made Bánh xèo chay (Vegetarian crepe).

Banh Xeo - Crape
The Hủ tiếu chay (Vegetarian noodle soup) further corroborated a sneaking suspicion that vegetarian stock simply can't replicate the complex flavor profile of meat-based soups.  Using a recipe that originated in the Chinese kitchens of Phnom Penh and arrived in Vietnam with the post-conflict Cambodian diaspora, their version was bland and uninspiring. 

Bột chiên (Pan fried rice cake) is usually enjoyed while perched on a decaying stool along a bustling street as a greasy pick-me-up.  This restaurant-ready version was delectable.
Bot Chien
Our verdict?  It was pretty damn good - traditional Vietnamese flavors with an American sense of portion, service, and scope.  We would happily return and highly recommend it to any Seattleite looking for tasty Vietnamese in a comfortable setting.

Re: Dispatch from Istanbul: Final Thoughts

Thanks again to Ned Entrikin for the updates on Istanbul... here is his final entry on the protests:

Monday, June 24, 2013

Urban Hiking: Seattle, Washington

Capitol Hill.

Queen Anne.

Seattle Center.

The Vera Project - a music & arts center promoting non-profit, all-ages rock shows for the past ten years or so.

The legendary 5-Point Cafe in Belltown... Drink the Bloody Mary and eat the Crab-Cake Eggs Benedict if you visit.

Where it all began on a frigid Saturday night in January 2008...

Pike Place Market.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Get Off the Couch, Saigon: Shabazz Palaces @ Cargo Bar

Some time ago, legendary Seattle imprint Subpop signed Shabazz Palaces.  Consisting of an MC who cut his teeth in the Nineties with the irrepressibly conscious Digable Planets before relocating to the Pacific Northwest and a multi-instrumentalist that can rip the mbira among other things, they subsequently released a debut album and critics the world over extolled the virtues of this avant-hop duo.

Now, thanks to the kind folks at Ở ĐÂU? and Tiny Extinction, Saigon gets to meet Shabazz Places




-Uncon Sci-

-His Talk, Her Teeth-


150,000VND (With student ID)
250,000VND (Advance)
300,000VND (On the door)

Tickets for Shabazz Palaces are now available. For all enquiries please email:

Or call:

0963 656 383 - Lix

01267225693 - Rich

Or visit:

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dining Out in Ballard: The Walrus and the Carpenter

The Walrus and the Carpenter is a bustling oyster bar on Ballard Avenue.  Due to its immense popularity, patrons have to queue up before its opening time of 4 pm.  Although this sounds incredibly painstaking, the plates of delectably fresh seafood make the process worthwhile.

The Entrikins prepare for a feast...

... we attempt to get in the proper mindset as well.

As billed, the oysters are plentiful, diverse, and freshly shucked.

We opted for an array of oysters procured locally in the Northwest.

Small plates to share! White Anchovy Tartine with horseradish and iridescent globes of salmon roe.  Publicly maligned for years, the anchovy is making a culinary comeback.

Fried oysters with cilantro aioli.

Grilled asparagus with arugula pesto and a fried egg. Rich and delicious.

Smoked Trout with creme fraiche.

Our meal was fantastic and The Walrus and the Carpenter is highly recommended for anyone in the Seattle area.


Post-meal gelato on Ballard Avenue.

The cycling event being held on Ballard Avenue gave an air of festivity to the entire evening.  Oh Seattle, you are fit, green, and friendly. What a town!